Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Magic Bars

Magic Bars, Seven-Layer Bars, Hello Dolly Bars....

This cookie/candy hybrid has been a favorite of mine for many years. A graham cracker crust topped with any combination of semi-sweet, milk chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter or white chocolate morsels, nuts, and coconut, drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and baked into ooey, gooey perfection.

I was browsing through my kitchen cupboard, wondering what version I would make this year, when inspiration struck. How about a holiday version, with some cranberries and a little spice? And here's what I came up with.....

I thought about starting with a ginger cookie crumb base, but opted to go half ginger thins and half graham cracker, as the ginger thins I had were pretty spicy. Not that that's a bad thing - using just the cookies would have worked out fine, too. In fact, next time I think I'll do just that!

I started out with about a sleeve of graham crackers and a package of Anna's Ginger Thins, and tossed them into the food processor.

Process until you have fine crumbs and add about 3 tbsp melted butter.
Traditionally, I add a little sugar, but the cookies were sweet enough so I skipped it this time.

(Note: The meager amount of calories saved by omitting the sugar is, shall we say, negligible. Well, you'll see what I mean....)

Press into a buttered baking dish - my 9" x 9" was in use, so I used a 7" x 11".
Here's the fun part - you get to pick what you want to add to your bars. I used 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips (you'll want about 2 1/2 cups total, whatever combination you decide on), about 3/4 cup dried cranberries, about 2 tsp. minced candied ginger, 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans and about 1/2 cup shredded coconut. I should have tossed in some dried apricots, but I forgot!

Drizzle all THAT with a 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Here's the tricky part.

Let cool completely.

Seriously, you'll have an ooey-gooey mess if you try to cut these before they're set. But when they are cool to the touch, you can go ahead and cut with a sharp knife, loosening up the sides first.

Very sweet, but a nice candy-like addition to my cookie platters! Hope my friends and family enjoy them - I think they will!

As for me? I'm craving a nice green salad with a light vinaigrette for some strange reason! ;)

Holiday Magic Bars

(Feel free to play around with measurements - this is a great "clean out the pantry" recipe)

2 cups graham cracker/ginger cookie crumbs
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 1/2 cups chocolate and white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp. minced candied ginger
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9" x 9" inch baking dish.
Combine crumbs and butter, and press into bottom of baking dish.
Sprinkle with chocolate/white chocolate morsels, cranberries, ginger, nuts and coconut.
Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool completely and cut into squares with a sharp knife.


5thsister said...

Oh so SAVED!!!!!

Lissaloo said...

Yum, what a wonderful idea, they look marvelous! :)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I've never heard of these before, they look easy and wonderful- I want to make them ASAP!!

Chicago Mom said...

Wow, these sound great! I love the candy/cookie combo too.
I am so glad you like the fudge! It's fun to experiment with it (like your recipe too).
I hope you all are safe and not completely buried under all that snow you've been getting. Good luck!

ChristineM said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad all these sweets will be leaving my house shortly - I'm having fun but my daughter summed it up perfectly tonight: "Mom? Can I just please have a carrot?" LOL!!!

We lucked out big time with the snow - only about 4" - just barely enough to break out the shovel! South of Boston and the Cape got nailed though...this time. Thanks for the well wishes! ;)

Joanna Jenkins said...

YEAH! I've never seen this recipe with the dried cranberries before. That's a GREAT addition. I'm printing this one out.

Wishing you and yours a great Christmas!